Letters to the Editor

Back off council

To the editor:

In reference to the latest debate over a 15-room hotel (and other similar proposals), I find our council’s hang-wringing to be unbecoming, allowing the political aspirations of council members to thwart the due process requirements associated with development. It is also unfair, if it serves to delay or requires modification of proposals that otherwise have met all the provisions of the code.

Planning staff should evaluate the suitability of development proposals in a non-political and dispassionate manner in accordance with the requirements of zoning, and council should stay out of trying to redesign or thwart those projects just because they have personal or political feelings about it, or feel the site could be put to a different use.

Social engineering through land-use control is laudable, but should be forward-looking, through comprehensive plan updates and so forth, not backward-looking, trying to scuttle plans that otherwise meet historically laid down requirements.

Developers put a lot of effort, and money into proposals, and they are financially driven to do so in a manner that is pleasing to their customers (the public), who sleep, eat and live in the properties they create. A case in point is the monumental amount of work and financial resources that John Jacobi poured into Lynwood Center, a failed, weather-beaten project, with eroded soils and half-completed buildings when he took it over. Today it is a vibrant community. Jacobi, and others like him, deserve more respect than they are being accorded by the council.

Anthony Gibbons


Use stop signs

To the editor:

The city recently voted to reduce speed limits island-wide. Based on my observations, people will drive the speed they want to drive, regardless of the posted limit. While I drive as close to the posted limit as possible, at least once a week, cars pass me across the double yellow lines on High School and Miller/Fletcher Bay roads.

Based on that experience, I’m not sure that lowering the speed limit on High School, Fletcher Bay South of High School Road, Miller North of Bainbridge Gardens, or other island roads will do much to improve traffic safety. The island has long stretches of roads that encourage higher speeds.

At the same time, we have several intersections that have poor sight distance and create safety problems. It seems to me that placing all-way stops at some of these intersections would go a long way to calm traffic and increase safety. Four of these intersections are Miller-Koura, Blakely/Bucklin Hill-Eagle Harbor, Lynwood Center-Baker Hill, and Fort Ward Hill-Parkview.

Breaking up motorized traffic flow at key intersections would not only do a lot to slow traffic, it would go a long way toward improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Ken DeWitt


Fund Medicaid

To the editor:

The state legislature needs to support funding increases for Medicaid in this year’s budget and pass Senate Bill 5526/House Bill 1571 to increase nursing facility rates.

I am the nursing home administrator at Bainbridge Island Health & Rehab, where our 61 employees care for 45 people. But a staffing crisis, fueled in large part by inadequate Medicaid funding, threatens access to critically needed health and long-term care services for low-income seniors.

If Medicaid were properly funded, we could take 29% more patients. That would help more than just those seniors and their families – it would benefit all by addressing overcrowded hospitals. I’ve seen seniors in our community get stuck in hospital beds awaiting placements at skilled-nursing facilities for months beyond being medically ready to discharge because a long-term care placement cannot take on supporting more patients at current rates. That means people with urgent medical needs can’t get a hospital bed when they need one.

I’m a proud Washingtonian, but it’s shameful that our state is the fourth worst in the nation when it comes to Medicaid reimbursement. Lawmakers should prioritize closing this gap in Medicaid funding so we can adequately care for our staff and residents. These are your parents, grandparents and neighbors, and they deserve quality care.

Adam Canary


Plastic kills

To the editor:

Usually we don’t think twice about throwing away a plastic bag or drinking from a plastic bottle. My classmates and I are doing a project about plastic, specifically the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The GPGP is the largest garbage patch in the world.

At Blakely Elementary School, we did a plastic audit. My class put out garbage cans for plastic. We counted 613 pieces of plastic for one day.

Plastic is harmful to marine life. A creature could eat a piece of plastic, and it could die from the chemicals, or their stomach could get so full of things they can’t digest, and they die from slow starvation. An animal could also get strangled or suffocated in things like six-pack rings or plastic bags.

Plastic can also be harmful to us. How? An example would be a tuna eats a piece of plastic, a larger tuna eats that tuna, a squid eats the larger tuna, and we eat the squid.

There are things you can do to reduce the plastic problem. You can buy reusable snack pouches instead of using a plastic bag, or you can cut up a six-pack ring so if it does eventually end up in the ocean, it won’t strangle a fish.

Parker Juhl


Science? Really?

To the editor:

Climate change is the stated ideology for your plastic waste reduction efforts, is it not? So, here’s my question. “Are you sure about the science of climate change?” You’re positive beyond a reasonable doubt that it has all the certainty of Newton’s Laws?

I don’t think you’re able to say that. Government acted irrationally and rashly, “based on the science,” in its reaction to the COVID pandemic. We now know that the vaccines were/are ineffective against COVID, that the risk of hospitalization and death were found to be greater for the vaccinated than the unvaccinated, and that the vaccine’s side effects were far more risky than initially let on to be.

Government lied to us, actively advancing bad science and suppressing data and top doctors who challenged the government’s so-called science. Yet, here we are now, expected to believe that the science of climate change is any better.

Does “fool me once” sound familiar? You’ve acted as if hypothesis and computer modeling are all that science is. Your science is fake. It is more akin to “Chicken Little: the Sky is Falling” than anything like true science. As such, your punitive 25-cent tax is an unjust tyranny.

Good ideas don’t need to be “forced” on those who easily see the good in them.

Pete Brady


Restore plaque

Discussing removing Capt. Charles Wilkes’ name from the elementary school needs a wider lens in deciding to take the next steps. Let’s briefly review what Wilkes accomplished from 1838-42, and perhaps why the school was named for him in the first place.

When Wilkes entered our neck of the woods, he named our island after Commodore William Bainbridge, who captained the U.S. frigate Constitution. Leading the U.S. Exploring Expedition, Wilkes’ squadron of seven sailing ships circled the globe—the last, and largest, all-sail U.S. Naval mission to do so. He sailed 87,000 miles, lost only two ships and 28 men.

At that time, Wilkes’ Journey of Discovery was compared to the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

With those accomplishments, it’s no surprise his memory was honored here. So, let’s focus on a better-deserving tribute to Wilkes already in place here. At Hidden Cove is an aging, decrepit plaque that describes in pictures and words what Wilkes saw and did here over 180 years ago.

Refurbish the plaque where it really belongs at waterside. Make it a school project for BI’s history students and give the school a new name. Win-Win.

Russell Barmmer


Letters of love

To the editor:

The dying art of letter writing and a longing for meaningful, personal correspondence has come to my attention through interviewing Bainbridge Island residents about their curiously creative mailboxes for a book. For many, the mailbox stands as a vestige and poignant reminder of a bygone era of handwritten correspondence.

Unlike electronic communication, letters have a permanence to them – something tangible to touch and hold. This got me thinking about instituting a Love Letter Day locally to encourage everyone to pen handwritten letters of affection, love, thanks, etc. to the special people in our lives.

Love Letter Day is not necessarily about romantic love but the love we feel for dear family, friends, neighbors, etc.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to flood the postal system with an outpouring of kindness? I think people really need this right now. I’d encourage people to do this anytime but have selected Feb. 23, which is after Valentine’s Day but still within the month known for love.

Denise Stoughton